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Sir Bradley gets back in the saddle

British cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins has said he will be training for the next Olympics this evening despite the perfect excuse for a night off - being knighted by the Queen.

The 33-year-old was honoured for services to cycling in a career that has included seven Olympic medals and becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France.

Sir Bradley, who was joined at Buckingham Palace today by his wife and two children, said the title was an "incredible honour" for the "inferior" accomplishment of winning a bike race.

Still visibly shell-shocked moments after the ceremony, he said: "It was quite nerve-wracking actually. I'm just incredibly uncomfortable in those circumstances.

"I'm still shaking now, to be honest. I'm glad it's over. The Queen asked what I'm doing now, and it was an incredible summer last year.

"I mean it's quite humbling, really, being here. I was just talking to some of the other people getting stuff, and asking them what they've been honoured for, and they're historic things, ground-breaking sciences or whatever.

"I've won a bike race, you know, and I feel a little bit inferior to everyone, really.

"It's just the end of the road in a sense, in that it tops off the closure of last summer as it were, even though it's more than a year ago. It's a great honour."

The newly-knighted cyclist turned heads among fellow honours recipients by maintaining his reputation for mod style. Sir Bradley wore a brown, bell-bottomed, three-piece suit for the occasion, complete with a knitted tie and suede collar.

Completing the ensemble, he opted for tan leather loafers and a tie-pin similar to the one he wore when receiving the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Sir Bradley also revealed that preparations for forthcoming races are dominating his schedule.

Explaining that he was not able to go out for celebrations this evening, he said: "I'm looking forward now, trying to concentrate on the next Olympic cycle now, but it's an incredible honour, it really is.

"I'll probably be training this evening. It's just ongoing at the moment.

"We (my family and I) are going to spend the afternoon together, but I'm staying here now to train until Christmas."

Sir Bradley also reacted to a spate of cycling deaths on busy London roads in recent weeks, saying that "people have to help themselves".

He said: "With successes in the sport, more people get on bikes and obviously accidents happen.

"I think the fact that there is more publicity around it means more is being done now. There's more publicity towards cycle safety now, with people wearing helmets, being visible, etc, etc.

"It's not going to happen overnight and people have to help themselves at the end of the day. It's a long old process."

Wasim Khan, 42, the first British-born Pakistani cricketer, received an MBE for services to cricket and charity through the Chance to Shine programme, which encourages cricket in state schools.

He said the honour was "wonderful" recognition of his 11-year career, which included a role in the record-breaking 1995 Warwickshire team, and charitable work.

He said: "We've been operating as a charity now since eight years ago, and now there are two million young people involved across 7,000 state schools and we've raised £49 million. It's going really well .

"It's been wonderful. Firstly, for 11 years playing professional cricket. And then being honoured in such a way outside of cricket, which is something I am very passionate about. The kind of work really stirs my soul."

Richard Lewis, former chairman of Sport England and current chief executive of Wimbledon tennis club, who was also honoured today, said the range of sports represented in the Queen's Honours was indicative of its value.

Speaking after receiving an MBE, he said: "I told Her Majesty that sport has a hugely important role to play in society. I think the honours show that sport is valued and respected in society and something to aspire to.

"Sport has an important role to play in society. Whether you are a top sportsman and very famous or whether you just enjoy sports and are participating, it has a fantastic role to play.

"It's not just about the very pinnacle of a peak athlete, but also about getting more people to play, which is a wonderful thing for society."

Sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor was knighted for services to the visual arts.

The Indian-born British artist, who has also won the Turner Prize, designed the twisting, red ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford for the London Games.

Musician and songwriter Polly Harvey was awarded an MBE by the Queen today.

Known on stage as PJ Harvey, the 44-year-old has previously received two Mercury Prizes and was recognised at the 2011 NME awards for her outstanding contribution to music.

Receiving the George Medal, Warrant Officer Class 1 Andreas Peat, of the Royal Logistic Corps, said of the honour: "I don't think it's quite sunk in yet. Clearly it's a team effort, but it's a fantastic day, fantastic surroundings. I'm slightly dumbfounded at the moment.

"I'm slightly taken aback by the award and the whole situation, really. At the end of the day, we're in the Army and it's our job specs. We're just doing our job."

WO1 Peat saved Danish and British soldiers by disarming a series of IEDs which were inadvertently triggered during a search of a suspected home-made explosives factory.

He said: "I was supporting a Danish call-sign. Unfortunately, while they were taking on a bomb-making factory, they initiated a bomb and a casualty then landed on a second device. Another five members of the team took cover and, as they did, they also landed on another device.

"To extract the casualty I had to neutralise that one by hand, get him out the way, then screen the other device so he didn't initiate it while they were taking the guy off the roof, then get the rest of the guys that were able off the roof, then work on the next five guys to extract them back out. It took 35 minutes.

"That was my fourth tour. I'm hoping not to have to repeat that again in a hurry but clearly if I have to then that's the way it is."


From Belfast Telegraph